Saturday, May 26, 2012

Contraction Surgery

You're just going to love this!

This week our spelling words were contractions.  The class seems to have a tough time with them every year.  Most of them seem to know that there are 2 words that become one word and that there is an apostrophe in the word.  Frequently the apostrophe goes inbetween the two words (ie. does'nt).

I have to say that from Pinterest and all the blogs out there that I now LOVE following I learned about "Contraction Surgery."  We had a blast with this!!!

First I built a little excitement.  I told my class on Monday, that by the end of the week, they would be not only experts with contractions, but "Doctors," too.  We talked about getting stitches.  I teach in an all boy school.  So trust me there were plenty of students eager to share the stories and scars.

Then I talked about how making two words into one was kind of like surgery.  You "cut out" a letter or two... and there will be a scare.  The "scare" or reminder of what used to be there... is the apostrophe.  I did a simple one for them and they just could not wait.

On Wednesday, I set up an operating table,  (blue mat used for absorbing water...) got our trusty Language Arts specialist to serve as the operating assistant equipped with choice of blue, orange or red scissors, and Crayola Crayon bandaids.

I have a very close friend who is a dental hygenist.  I asked her for some of her cool masks.  She set me up with assorted colors and even some with a bonus, a plastic shield for the eyes!  Of course, that is the one they all requested.  Thanks, Doris!  And our school nurse happened to have a box of small rubber gloves.  Each boy got his very own pair.  Way cool.  So they "doctors" were ready.

Operating table ready.

Then the "Dr." was called to the "operating room."  He introduced the patient.  I explained that the patient was tired of being one who had a two word name.  It wanted to be only one word.  The "Dr." then shared it with the group.  They had to write the "name" down as 2 words.

Meet "could not."

Next, I asked the "Dr." what he would be removing from the "patient."  The "Dr." would tell the class, "Today I will be removing (in this example) the letter "o."  The student were told to circle the letter(s) that were being removed on their worksheets.  And the "Dr." then proceed with the surgery.  He had to ask for his tool (scissors) and then he carefully cut out the letter.

Dr. performing surgery - removing letter(s).

The last step involves bandaging the wound.  I must say this where the assistant was vital!  She helped to get the wrapping off (quite tough for small hands in rubber gloves...) You were amazing, Lauren!  She wore rubber gloves, too.  And finally the "new" word, patient now with a one word name was introduced to the class. 

Bandaging wound.

Meet "mended" patient now known as let's.

Then each boy got a badge that said, "World's Greatest Dr.  Dr. ____________"  I printed them in color on cardstock and taped them onto each student.  That was the biggest part I think.

Special thanks to Kate King, from Queen of the First Grade blog.  You can buy her kit"Contraction Surgery," from Teachers Pay Teachers.  It is complete with worksheet, words, badges and more. 

I made a bulletin board out in the hallway.  The "doctrors" are quite proud.  We had our spelling test on Friday.  Just about everyone got a 100%.  I said the 2 words,  "have not" and they had to write in the one word form, or as the contraction.  The mistakes were spelling for the word does.  Guess what we will be doing next week?

You've got be able to tell I've enjoyed this.  We've also learned the contraction song. (Google it.) It's very cute to the melody of "Mary had a little lamb."  Each student got their own copy.  I 'm very confident they'll not forget this experience.  I hope you'll try it. Here's hoping you just can't wait..  :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hey, Little Ant.

I am crazy for godd books.  Another great one for all to read to their class (any level) is Hey, Little Ant.  Here is a link for more info.  Hey , Little Ant

Simply, this book is about a boy eager to squish and ant.  And yet, the ant argues back.  "Hey, what I were big and you were small?"  The boy and the ant debate.  The book ends with the choice being up to the reader.

And here lies the great writing opportunity.  "What would you do?"  The class did a terrific job expressing their opinions.  It was equally split, with even one boy who was conflicted and just could not decide.  So I encouraged him to write that, and he did.
Regretfully, I just could not link my document.  I made it on word, with text box, writing lines (using shapes) and found a coloring page with a sneaker they could add AFTER the writing was complete.

Here are some samples.

Spring Birds

I love to have my students work hanging from the ceiling.  Usually we change it each month.  We have featured name plates, pumpkins, pilgrims, snowflakes, mittens, hearts, and more.

One highlight for this years class was birds!  We happen to have a resident bird expert and we are all celebrating his enthusiasm.  With a simple template of a bird body, wings, and feathers, we transformed our room into a little paradise.  Simple things can be so big and fun.  You can't really tell in the photo, but the blue bird is really a New York Yankees bird.  The NY logo is all over the bird.  So great!

Here are some photos for you to enjoy.

Hopper Hunts for Spring

It has been a while, but I have been saving my plans for blog entries.

I just love the arrival of spring.  At home we have a contest seeing who can spot the first blue jay!  Who ever does so, excited announces the sighting and proceeds to make "Worms 'n dirt."  Chocolate pudding, with crushed oreos on top, and finally the addition a of a few gummy worms. 

In the classroom it is a great opportunity for a "How to" writing project.  Working in small groups, we make the pudding together (the instant pudding can be made simply in a shaker containter...)  Then  as the goodies chill, we write how we did it.  This year, we did not get to it.  So much going on.

We did read a great book instead this year..

This book is written by Marcus Pfister (also wrote Rainbow Fish) and is about a little rabbit who hears his mother say "Spring is here."  The bunny thinks it is a person, a friend and takes off to find this new friend.  Such a great story!  My class always loves it.  So fun to predict... and more.

We used wrote summaries of this book using the "Somebody, wanted, but, so, then" format.  They did rought draft and final copy complete with a photo.  The class LOVED this project.